1. Blend yeast in the warm water and let stand (about 5 minutes).
2. In a large bowl combine the yeast mixture, milk, butter, eggs, sugar, anise seed, and salt. Gradually beat in the flour.*
3. Turn dough out on a large lightly floured board and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic (10-15 minutes). Form the dough into a ball and place it in a large greased bowl. Make sure the dough is covered with the vegetable oil or cooking spray. COVER AND LET RISE IN A WARM PLACE FOR 2 1/2 HOURS OR UNTIL ALMOST DOUBLED IN SIZE.**
4. Punch down the dough, pinch off two pieces, each about 3 inches in diameter. Set aside. Knead the remaining dough on an unfloured board into a smooth ball. Place on a greased baking sheet or, better yet, onto a sheet of parchment paper. Flatten the dough ball into 9 - 10-inch round.
5. Take each of the 3-inch balls and shape them into 15-inch long ropes by rolling them out with the palm and fingers of your hands. Slice each end of the ropes with a 5-inch cut. Cross the ropes on top of the loaf and curl the slashed sections away from each other and put a cherry into each curl. Put a cherry in thre center of the cross. Don't press down too hard.
6. Brush the loaf with the beaten egg white. Cover the loaf lightly with a cloth or piece of plastic wrap. Let rise for an hour or until the loaf is almost doubled in size.
7. Bake in a moderate oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick or wooden skewer comes out clean.
8. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm. (To reheat, wrap read in foil and place in a 350 degree for 40 minutes.